First off, I almost posted this story a few weeks ago but I figured that Senior Night would be more fitting. Years ago while in high school, I used to play basketball at the Lexington Salvation Army on a weekly basis with a few guys from school. I graduated in 2001 from P.L. Dunbar and had the opportunity to play with a few D-1 players all the time there. George Baker who played at Depaul, and Clay Tate who played at Lipscomb. Among the others that played with us went to Directional schools, but good talent none the less.
The reason I am posting this is because, Charlie Garner ran the gym at the Salvation Army. He was Preston's God father. I can remember Preston asking to playpick up games with us , and he was quite abit younger so we never gave him a shot. He would stand on the side, shoot by himself and call next, he usually never got it. Charlie would come out and tell us to let him play a little and that, "One day he just might whip your butts!" The kid could shoot, but most of the time we would let him get in on 32 games but very rarely in actual games.
Charlie was the reason Preston got a chance to go to Louisville. Apparently, Preston got in some trouble in High School and transferred to another, I don't really remember if he played for Clark Co. first or Montgomery Co. but that is neither here nor there. VMI was the only offer that Preston had on the table. Charlie had done charity events and such with Pitino while he was the coach at UK, and had built a pretty close relationship with Coach P. So Charlie got Preston the eventual workout and the rest is history. Preston got the chance on Charlie's good word and has stayed hungry and humble every since.
Just thought you all would enjoy a little story about a good kid who made the most out of another man's helping hand.George went on to transfer to Georgetown and broke the NAIA assist records, and played for the Bluegrass Stallions for a while. But just like Charlie said, he became a better ball player than anyone else on the court that year.